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who was first very reluctant, knowing that it would be fatal to her; but, at last yielding to her importunity, he discovered his divine majesty, and she was consumed by his presence. Ovid. Metam. 1. iïi, fab. iv. 5.*
Similar to the account of Moses, when receiving the law, being forty days and nights with the Lord in mount Sinai, (Exod. xxxv. 28), is the tradition mentioned in the books of the Parsees, and also by several ancient writers, that Zoroaster received, for some years together, the instructions of Ormuzd in a mountain. From the familiar converse which Moses had with God, it is probable the heathen invented the similar accounts of their Zamolxis, who pretended to receive his laws from Vesta and Minos, and Lycurgus, who is said to have received his from Jupiter and Apollo, and several others mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, (1. i.) who adds, that Moses had his from the God Jao, as he pronounces ° Jehovah.*
What the Cherubim were we cannot determine. Some, observing that the verb ai, kerav, in Syriac, sometimes means to resemble, make like, conceive the noun 3173, kercov, signifies no more than an image, figure, or representation of any thing. Josephus (Ant. 1. iii. c. 6. § 5), says, they were flying animals, like none of those which are seen by man, but such as Moses saw about the throne of God. In another place (Ant. I. vii. c. 3. $ 3.) he says, “ As for the cherubim, nobody can tell or conceive what they were like. These symbolical figures, according to the description of them by Ezekiel, (ch. 1. 10; 10. 14.) were creatures with four heads and one body; and the animals of which these forms consisted were the noblest of their kind; the lion, among the wild beasts; the bull, among the tame ones; the eagle, among the birds ; and man, at the head of all; so that they might be, says Dr. Priestley, the representatives of all nature. Hence some have conceived them to be somewhat of the shape of flying oxen; and it is alleged in favour of this opinion, that the far more common meaning of the verb 372, kerav, in Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic, being to plough, the natural meaning of 312, keroov, is a creature used in ploughing, (Bochart, Hieroz. P. 1. 1. ii. c. 38.) This seems to have been the ancient opinion which tradition had handed down, concerning the shape of the cherubim with the flaming sword, that guarded the tree of life. (Gen. iii. 24.) Ovid's fable concerning Jason's golden fleece being guarded by brazen-footed bulls, breathing out fire, was perhaps derived from it.t
10. Finally, by imitations of the Mosaic institutions, &c.; such as
The ark of the covenant. 1178, aron, which denotes a chest or coffer, in general; but is applied particularly to the chest or ark, in which the testimony or two tables of the covenant were laid up; on the top of which was the propitiatory or mercy-seat; and at the end of which were the cherubim of gold, between whom the visible sign of the appearance of God appeared as seated upon his throne. We meet with imitations of this divinely instituted emblem among several heathen nations, both ancient and modern. Apuleius (De Aur. Asin. 1. ii.) describing an idolatrous procession after the Egyptian mode, says, “ A chest, or ark, was carried by another, containing their secret things, entirely concealing the mysteries of religion.' Plutarch (De Is. et Os.) describing the rites of Osiris, says, 'On the tenth day of the month, at night, they go down to the sea, and the stolists, together with the priests, carry forth the sacred chest, in which is a small boat or vessel of gold.'* In addition to these notices respecting the imitations of the ark among the heathen, it may be observed, that Pausanias (l. vii. c. 19.) testifies that the ancient Trojans had a sacred ark, in which was the image of Bacchus. Tacitus (De Moribus German. c. 40.) informs us, that the inhabitants of northern Germany, our Saxon ancestors, in general worshipped Herthum or Herlham, i. e. mother earth, (plainly derived from 11x, eretz, earth, and ox, am, a mother); that to her in a sacred grove, in a certain island of the ocean, a vehicle, covered with a vestment, was consecrated, and allowed to be touched only by the priests (2 Sa. 6. 6,7; 1 Ch. 13. 9, 19) who perceived when the goddess entered into her secret place, penetrale, and with profound veneration attended her vehicle, which was drawn by cows. (1 Sa. 6. 7–10.) A sacred ark was also discovered among the inhabitants of Hụaheine, one of the South Sea Islands, by Captain Cook, (Voyage round the World, vol. 2. p. 252.) +
• Comprehensive Bible, Note in loco.
+ Idem, Note on Exod. 36. 8.
The table of shewbread. Imitations of this sacred utensil also we find in the temples of ancient heathen nations. In the temple of Juno Populonia, there was a magnificent table for the utensils required at sacrifices and libations, as Macrobius (Saturnalia, I. iii. c. 11) states from older accounts. F. Montfaucon (Antiq. vol. 1, P. ii. 1. ii. c. 1) has given us a draught of a very celebrated piece of antiquity, called the table of Isis, which was a table made of brass, almost four feet long, and nearly the same breadth. The ground work was a black enamel, curiously filled with silver plates inlaid, which represented figures of various kinds, distinguished into several classes and compartments, and interspersed by various hieroglyphics. Though nothing can be confidently asserted respecting the signification, or the original design of this table, yet it seems not improbable that it was an imitation of the table of shewbread. (See Shuckford's Sacred and Profane History connected, vol. ii. pp. 316—328.)
The tabernacle, and the temple, of which the heathen temples were evident imitations. They consisted of 1. the area or porch; 2. the vaos, or temple; 3. the adytum or holy place, called also penetrale and sacrarium; and 4. the of loboðojos, or inner temple, where they had their mysteria, and which answered to the Holy of Holies. One of the most
• Comprehensive Bible, Note on Exod. 25. 10. + Idem, Note on Exod. 40. 21.
complete imitations of the tabernacle and its whole service is 'found in the ancient temple of Hercules at Gades, now Cadiz, in Spain; in which the beams were so ancient that they were supposed to be incorruptible. Women were not permitted to enter, nor swine to come near it; the priests wore no parti-coloured vests, but were clothed in fine linen, with bonnets of the same; they offered incense with their clothes ungirded; (Exod. 20. 26.) they wore a stud of purple on their vest; they ministered bare footed, kept the strictest continency, kept a perpetual fire on their altars; and had no image in their sacred place. (See Silius Italicus, Punicor. 1. j. v. 17–31.) *
The sacred fire and lamp. The temple of Vesta seems to have been formed on the model of the tabernacle, in which the eternal fire, as it was called, at Rome, was kept perpetually burning by the vestal virgins; and the trup aoßeotov, inertinguishable fire,"of the Greeks at Delphi, were evident imitations of this sacred fire. From this also the followers of Zerdusht, or Zoroaster, and the modern Parsees, appear to have derived their doctrine of the perpetual fire, which they still worship as an emblem of the Deity. In the very ancient temple of Hercules at Gades, as already stated, a perpetual fire was kept burning on their altars. (Silius Ital. Punicor. 1. iii. v. 29.) |
The golden candlestick. Herodotus, (1. i. c. 62.) states, that when the people have assembled in the city of Sais to sacrifice and to celebrate the festival, they light round their houses lamps, which are filled with salt and oil, in which the wick swims and burns the whole night. This festival is called the feast of the burning of lamps, (Avxvorain.) Even those Egyptians who do not attend at this meeting do not fail to keep the festival : so that lamps are burning at the same time not only at Sais, but throughout all Egypt.' As the Egyptians, according to Clemens Alexandrinus, (Strom. I. i. c. 20,) were the first who used lamps in their temples, they probably borrowed the use of them from the golden candlestick, $ 79, menorah, rather, a chandelier, which was of pure gold, and is described as having one shaft, with six branches proceeding from it, adorned at equal distances with six flowers, like lilies, with as many bowls and knops placed alternately. On each of the branches there was a lamp ; and one on the top of the shaft, which occupied the centre, making in all seven lamps. Calmet remarks, that the ancients used to dedicate candlesticks in the temples of their gods, bearing a number of lamps. Pliny (Hist. Nat. 1. xxxiv. c. 3.) mentions one in the form of a tree, with lamps like apples, which Alexander the Great consecrated in the temple of Apollo. Athenæus, (l. xv. C. 19, 20.) mentions one which supported 365 lamps, which Dionysius the Younger, king of Syracuse, dedicated in the Pryteneum at Athens. §
The Holy of Holies. According to a belief which was universally prevalent among ancient nations, the innermost sanctuary was the peculiar abode of the god to whom the temple was dedicated. Into this part, no mortal except the priest dared to enter; which was, therefore, called the inaccessible (adytum, abaton.) Every uninitiated person, who ventured to penetrate into the inner sanctuary, expiated his boldness by a sudden death. Pausanias (1. x. c. 33, § 10.) relates, that at the inclosure and inaccessible sanctuary of Isis,' near Tithorea, 'a person, to whom, as not being initiated, access was not lawful, once out of inquisitiveness and wantonness, entered the sanctuary when the pile (prepared for the sacrifices] was already kindled : there he saw the whole place full of spectres. Returning to Tithorea, and relating what he had seen, it is said, he immediately died. Something similar was told me by a Phænician. The Egyptians are accustomed to celebrate a festival in honour of Isis, at the time when, as they say, she mourned for Osiris. At this time, a Roman governor of Egypt once sent a man, whom he had bribed, into the sanctuary of Coptos. He indeed came out again; but, in relating what he had seen, he fell down dead on the spot.' The same author (in his Bæotica) mentions the temple of Dindymene, which they thought was unlawful to open 'more than one day in the year; and he says of the temple of Orcus (in his Eliaca) that it was opened but once a-year.' *
• Comprehensive Bible, Note on Exod. 40. 2.
1 Idem, on Exod. 37. 17.
+ Idem, on Exod. 27. 20, and Lev. 6.13.
Idem, on Exod. 35. 14.
The cities of refuge. In imitation of these cities, the heathen had their asyla, and the Roman Catholics their privileged altars. The appointment of these cities was a humane institution for the protection of the involuntary homicide; for they were designed only for the protection of such, by which they were distinguished from the asyla of the Greeks and Romans, &c. Similar privileged places are found among various nations, though not attended with the same wise, equitable, and humane regulations as among the Israelites. The North American Indian nations have most of them either a house or town of refuge, which is a sure asylum to protect a manslayer, or the unfortunate captive, if they once enter it. The Cheerake, though now exceedingly corrupt, still observe that law so inviolably, as to allow their beloved town the privilege of protecting a wilful murderer, but they seldom allow him to return home afterwards in safety; they will revenge blood for blood, unless in some very particular case, where the eldest can redeem. In almost every Indian nation, there are several towns, which are called old beloved, ancient, holy, or white towns (white being their fixed emblem of peace, friendship, prosperity, happiness, purity, &c.); they seem to have been formerly towns of refuge; for it is not in the memory of the oldest people that ever human blood was shed in them. Adair's Indians, p. 158.1
The burnt-offerings, aby, ôlah, from oby, alah, to ascend, because this offering ascended, as it were, to God in flame and smoke, being wholly consumed; for which reason it is called in the Septuagint olokavtwua, a whole burnt offering. This was the most important of all the sacrifices; and no part of it was eaten either by the priest or the offerer, but the whole offered to God. It has been sufficiently shewn by learned men, that almost every nation of the earth, in every age, had their burnt-offerings, from the persuasion that there was no other way to appease the incensed gods; and they even offered human sacrifices, because they imagined, as Cæsar expresses it, (Com. de Bell. Gal, 1. vi.) that life was necessary to redeem life, and that the gods would be satisfied with nothing less. *
The meat-offerings. Offerings of different kinds of grain, flour, bread, fruits, &c., are the most ancient among the heathen nations; probably borrowed from the practice of the true worshippers of God, (Gen. iv. 3.) Ovid, (Fastor. I. ii. v. 515.) intimates, that these gratitude-offerings originated with agriculture :- In the most ancient times men lived by rapine and hunting; for the sword was considered more honourable than the plough ; but when they sowed their fields, they dedicated the first-fruits of their harvest to Ceres, to whom the ancients attributed the art of agriculture, and to whom burnt offerings of corn were made, according to immemorial usages.' Pliny (Hist. Nat. l. xviii. c. 2.) observes, that Numa taught the Romans to offer fruits to the gods, and to make supplications before them, bringing salt cakes and parched corn ; as grain in this state was deemed most wholesome.' And it is worthy of remark, that he further observes, the ancient Romans considered ‘no grain as pure or proper for divine service that had not been previously parched.'t
The assigning of the skin of the burnt offering to the priest: All the flesh of the burnt-offerings being consumed, as well as the fat, upon the altar, there could nothing fall to the share of the priest but the skin ; which must have been very valuable, as they were used as mattresses, (Lev. 15. 17.) and probably as carpets to sit upon in the day, as they are still used by some of the inhabitants and dervishes of the East. (Harmer, Observat. vol. i. pp. 155, 156.) It seems probable, as Bp. Patrick remarks, that Adam himself offered the first sacrifice, and had the skin given him by God, to make garments for him and his wife ; in conformity with which, the priests ever after had the skin of the whole burnt-offerings for their portion. The same custom prevailed in after times among the Gentiles, whose priests employed them to a superstitious purpose, by lying upon them in their temples, in hopes of having future things revealed to them in their dreams. (See Virgil, Æn. 1. vii. ver. 86–95.) The same superstition prevails to the present day in the Highlands of Scotland. See Descript. of Western Isles, p. 110. Pennant's Scottish Tour, vol. ii. p. 301. I
The consecration of the High-priest. Calmet remarks, that the consecration of the high-priest among the Romans bore a considerable resemblance to the consecration of the Jewish high-priest. • The Roman priest, clothed with a garment of silk, his head covered with a crown of gold, adorned with sacred ribbons, was conducted into a subterraneous place,
• Comprehensive Bible, Note on Lev. 1. 10.
+Idem, Lev. 2. 14.
* Idem, Lev. 7. 8.